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A Method for Election Forecasting

Case
By: , & Published: 2019 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases Part 2
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Abstract

The CHAMPSKNOW system was used to predict the 2016 Jamaican General Election. The questions asked were as follows: What were the probabilities of the Jamaica Labor Party or the People’s National Party winning the election? Would the election be close? How many seats would each party receive? Integrated or mixed methods were used with quantitative and qualitative data. These data were macroeconomic and demographic indicators (1962–2015), and regression was done to identify the significant predictors of party in power; general election results (1962–2011) were used to calculate the vote share and frequency of wins and seat type; type of Constituency Development Fund disbursements (2008–2015) and a regression were done to determine the significant predictors of MP victory; published polls (1962–2016) were used to identify the most accurate poll to guide the forecast; independent voter survey in marginal seats was used with vote share, and frequency of wins and seat type to determine seat count; newspaper stories about the election were coded as positive and negative stories about the parties; and the parties’ audiovisual advertisements were coded as positive, negative, and contrast. The final forecast gave the People’s National Party a 55% chance of winning (with 35 seats) and the Jamaica Labor Party a 45% chance (with 28 seats), a close election. The Jamaica Labor Party won with 49.5% of the popular vote (31 seats) to the People’s National Party’s 49.1% (30 seats) because of the promised tax break. This wild card was not assessed because voters tend to ignore campaign promises because they were usually unfulfilled.

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